UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Numen architecture: An architecture influenced by the numinous attributes of animals

Gil, P; (2015) Numen architecture: An architecture influenced by the numinous attributes of animals. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

Full text not available from this repository.


The Spanish philosopher Gustavo Bueno, in his book El Animal Divino, has studied the historical apparition of religious sentiment and has linked it to the evolution of man’s relationship with certain animals during the Paleolithic era. These animals acquired a numinous coloration and started to be experienced as personal entities with will and intelligence, that appear or disappear in unforeseen situations, can be felt as familiar but can turn dangerous, that feel like strangers surrounding our habitat and follow an undecipherable behaviour. Bueno has reconstructed the evolution of the relationship between religious sentiment and our experience of animals. From that, I have examined whether it has had an infl uence on the historical evolution of architecture, pointing out various major infl uences of animals in architecture, especially in religious architecture. First, the establishment of an architectural model of sacredness (the animal painted Paleolithic cave) that probably served as a basis for the design of temples of mythical religions, such as Egyptian and Mayan temples. Second, the use of animal representations in a literal form or as parts of theriomorphic fi gures in sacred architecture. Third, the use of atmospheric values that resemble the potential action of a personal presence. Finally, the use of behavioral animalistic attributes on the verge of being activated or fully dynamic that try to provoke the users of architecture. The dissertation has analysed historical examples of architecture that might have employed some of these attributes and also looked at animal behaviour and animal features as a source of numinous attributes. The design work has attempted to explore the experience of the numinous through projects, installations and drawings in which I apply the attributes compiled from Bueno´s descriptions but also from my direct experience of animals, refl ecting on the modes of our fascination with them. This approach tries to bring back religious sentiment to the experience of architecture and reconsiders the principles of design that institutionalised religions have employed in the expression of the sacred, bringing back to architecture the numinous roots of the sacred which are linked to the unpredictability and personality of animal behaviour, which points towards an architecture that has an expression of wildness and enigma, two properties that are absent in the contemporary city and generally in the way that we live.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Numen architecture: An architecture influenced by the numinous attributes of animals
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470265
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item